Saturday evening I had an online chat with Erin that started out being about the ultimate demise of Women and Words which I realized when I was looking for some inspiration for a sapphic literature blog topic that hadn’t been overdone. Our conversation veered off course as they sometimes do and ended up being about our children.
Erin and her wife are moving their kids with them as they travel the world, schooling them with some lessons and lots of experiences as they go. You can read about the family and their travels on their blog, Wha From Home. Erin says their boys are working on some blog posts of their own for the family travel blog. I can’t wait to read those.
We also talked about the special needs and schooling of the three year old girl in the legal custody of my wife and I since her birth, and the general educational needs and issues with those of the three foster children ages 4, 8, and 13, that have been in our care long term (between two and four years).
Our chat gave me pause…and a blog topic; books about sapphic led families with children. There’s some non-fiction out there. Much of it is well rated, but a few years old or more. Fiction featuring sapphic’s with children is becoming a little more common, especially in the romance genre.
I’ve featured lots of kids in my books, including some kiddos who are the biological or adopted children of sapphic characters because my personal life revolves around family and children. I’d love to put more kids in the books, but I primarily write murder mysteries, so… Let’s just say, having foster kids and dealing with the multiple trauma’s they’ve endured, doesn’t make me want to write books about children in serious harms way.
Today, I’m focusing on books that are non-fiction because I think it’s important that we all see what sapphic led families face and how they cope. Don’t worry! It’s not all doom and gloom.
Memoirs of the Happy Lesbian Housewife by Lorraine Howell. Lorrain has actually written a two book series. Both books are quite funny and insightful. At this writing, this is the second book according to Amazon and their series numbering. It was actually the first book Lorraine published. She released it in 2014. The book she numbers as ‘2’ was published in 2022.
Available for $2.99 from Amazon and other major retailers.
She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood by Amie Klempnaur Miller, published in 2010 by Penguin Random House.
After ten years of talking about children, two years of trying (and failing) to conceive, and one shot of donor sperm for her partner, Amie Miller was about to become a mother. Or something like that.
Some themes are dated here…some are decidedly not. This is available for $15.99 from Amazon and some other major retailers.
In 1977 a law was passed in Florida banning discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation based on sexuality. This law was an important step towards respecting gay and lesbian civil rights. However, immediately after it was passed, a group called Save Our Children vowed to overturn the law. This group stirred up so much fear regarding the idea of a gay role model, such as a teacher, interacting with children that the gay-rights ordinance was repealed.
In 1979 Joe Gantz decided to show more realistic and positive gay role models than the distorted images promoted by the campaign, by finding families raising children in openly gay homes and asking them to tell their story. A Secret I Can’t Tell follows five families raising children in homes where one or both parents were not hiding their homosexuality.
This book was first published in 1983. It was republished in 2022 by Joe Gantz with an update from many of the children 40 years later.
Anne’s Note: This book offers valuable insight into the past because now, in 2023, LGBT rights are regressing again across the US, and most notably in Florida where even speaking the word ‘gay’ is outlawed in elementary schools.
This is available for $9.99 from Amazon and other major retailers.
Zak’s Safari: A Story About Donor-Conceived Kids of Two-Mom Families by Christy Tyner, illustrated by Ciaee Ching.
When the rain foils Zak’s plan for a safari adventure, he invites the reader on a very special tour of his family instead. Zak shows us how his parents met, fell in love, and wanted more than anything to have a baby—so they decided to make one.
Recommended for children ages 4 to 8.
This is available for $2.99 from Amazon or free to read in Kindle Unlimited.
Pride and Joy: A guide for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans parents by Sarah Hagger-Holt and Rachel Hagger-Holt
Pride and Joy is full of stories, advice, and real-life experience from LGBT parents and their children. Sometimes funny, sometimes moving, sometimes surprising, every story sheds new light on what it’s like for LGBT people raising children in the UK and Ireland today. (Published in 2017 ).
Available from Amazon and other major retailers for $9.99
Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, and Their Children in the United States since World War II by Daniel Winunwe Rivers, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2013.
This isn’t the oldest book here, but it’s the most extensive history of lesbian and gay families in the US as the author traces LGBTQ family history back into the 1950s, after the end of the second World War, up until publication.
It’s available from Amazon and other online retailers for $9.99
Have a book you’d like to share, especially one that’s more current than many of these? Let us know.
Saturday evening I had an online back and forth chat with Erin. I told her I was looking for some blog post inspiration for the coming week and thought I’d go poke around in the Women And Words archives. I couldn’t. Sadly, they’re gone.
Jove Bell, Andi Marquette, and crew took a step back from the site and their podcast a couple years ago to take a breather and tend to writing, publishing, and other projects, but they left the site operational while they decided when and if they were going to move forward with it. Daily readership had dipped, despite all the work…and it was a lot of work.
Erin and I offered to take the site over and/or assist in operating it back when they first announced the hiatus if they came to a decision that involved letting it go. They weren’t ready to think about that then, and we didn’t push them. Now, I wish we would have pushed a little bit. Such a loss!
Other sites fill some of the gaps like multiple review sites and review bloggers/vloggers. One of the largest and best known is The Lesbian Review (Lots of reviews, some interviews, occasional panels and readings), now known as TLR There’s also iHeartSapphFic which has lots of ways for authors to reach readers through reader focused giveaways, sales, and reader focused content.
The things missing from those sites that could be found in the archives, now lost – possibly forever – from Women and Words are the daily blog posts by a rotating list of writers and occasional guests posters. Andi – AKA Captain Mayhem, posted nearly weekly. Sometimes more. Sometimes a little less. Her columns were always insightful and entertaining. The rest of the regular blogging crew was a made up of readers and authors who covered a wide variety of bookish topics including a lot of ‘favorites’ lists.
Change is always hard. It’s harder still when we lose things that are a part of our collective history as a sapphic community.
You were loved, Women and Words, and you are missed!
EDITED TO ADD: The original site is very much gone. The old URL goes to an error page. It’s been pointed out that an archive of sorts can be found here: https://lesbianauthors.wordpress.com/. The snippets of the posts are gone, but the archive with graphics and post titles seems to go back at least a couple of years covering 2020 and perhaps further back, until June 1st of 2021 when the hiatus officially began. It’s something, but still ultimately sad. ~ Anne
Pride month will be with us beginning tomorrow in most countries where Pride events can be openly celebrated. In the spirit of Pride, I’ve picked ten fiction books, some out of a promotion, several out of my ‘To Be Read’ (TBR) pile, I’m looking forward to reading in the next month or so. Most are romance, and most have positive themes.
Some of the books are indie and are running in said promotion where I personally have a book listed this month. Some are from publishers large and small. Most have been recommended to me (even above the promotion) as ‘must read’ stories of sapphic love and pride.
Fluid Bonding: A Sapphic Paranormal Romance was published in August of 2022 by indie author Sienna Eggler – If you know me, you know mysteries are my first love. This was suggested because it has those intrigue elements I like to see in romance too. Bonus points for having one of the leads be non-binary and neurodivergent.
$4.99 at Amazon and other major retailers.
Hugs and Quiches was published back in 2020 by indie author/tiny press author Candace Harper. I’m a fan of cooking competition television shows and more than a few people know this. I’m not super talented in the kitchen myself, but my family doesn’t starve either. I live my high end culinary dreams vicariously through such shows. Two people that know this have both recommended this book. It sounds like a great second chance romance for at least one of the main characters, and a thawing the ice queen trope for the other one. Yum!
Also $4.99 at Amazon and other major retailers.
Flipped: A Once Upon a Fangirl Book – Another book I missed back in 2020 when Caitlin Ryan self-published it caught my eye in that promo that starts tomorrow. During the pandemic I got hooked on home renovation shows that now vie for my precious few hours of aimless TV time a week alongside those cooking shows/competitions I mentioned. The model on this cover? To me, she looks a little like a longer haired, slightly younger Alison Victoria of ‘Windy City Rehab.’ That’s who I’ll be picturing the whole time I read this story about a travel agent and a ‘lesbian couple’ that remodel homes.
Currently $.99 at Amazon and available via Kindle Unlimited.
Sips of Her (Coffee Shops of Love Book 2) – A 2021 Sapphic romance by indie author Karmen Lee. Karmen is known for the diversity of her romances in both the multicultural aspects of them and in the sexualities/genders of her pairings. This one intrigues me because it offers both the cuteness of a romcom and some steam.
Currently $2.99 at Amazon and available via Kindle Unlimited.
I admit to starting this book by Ryann Fletcher when it came out in 2020…right before covid sent my wife home to work for months and my foster kids home to be homeschooled for months. I put it down ‘temporarily’ and lost track of it. It’s been waiting for me in my Kindle ever since. I’ll be starting it over gladly, and now there are four more books in the series to check out too.
At this writing this is $.99 at Amazon and at other major online retailers.
Swipe Right for Love This very recent release by Cyan LeBlanc (of fanfic fame) through her own small press, Posies and Peacocks, is quite the modern take on dating via apps. The format of the book is also very modern as each chapter is a date and, until it all works out in the end, it sounds like we’ll only get the viewpoint of one main character. I can’t wait to see how Cyan handles that!
Currently $3.99 at Amazon and available via Kindle Unlimited.
We finish with four books from large publishing houses, all well rated, and all with either intricate plots or tough themes that resolve well for the sapphics involved. No killing off your lesbians in these stories!
The Fiancée Farce – Avon published, Lammy Award winning author Alexandria Bellfleur is no stranger to sapphic book lovers, or to anyone who reads romance. This April release gives those book lovers what they love; a fake relationship book about book lovers. I can’t wait to dig into this.
$10.99 at Amazon and most other major retailers.
Forget Me Not Have you seen the Adam Sandler romcom movie, 50 First Dates, which was based on a true story? If you haven’t, watch it. I’ll wait. After that, lets read Alyson Derrick’s solo debut together and get the deeply emotional side of the same sort of story, but sapphic. Bonus points here from me for setting the story in small town western PA, near where I grew up and an area know well.
This was published in April by Simon and Schuster. It’s available for $10.99 from Amazon and most other retailers.
The Luis Ortega Survival Club Author Sonora Reyes (The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School) is back with another teen and young adult hit, this one published last week by Balzer and Bray. Trigger warning: It deals with rape as is made very clear in the blurb.
I’ll be reading it. I can’t wait to see how Sonora portrayed these young women supporting each other and standing up for themselves.
It’s available on Amazon and other major retailers from Harper-Collins for $11.99.
Last, but by no means least is, 6 Times We Almost Kissed and One Time We Did. This book by Tess Sharpe came out in January. Hachette has it on sale at this writing for $3.99. From the blurb, which sounds so sweet, I’d label it teen/young adult on the cusp of new adult.
Available at most majo
There you have the books on my Pride month reading list…that I know about so far. What’s on your list?
Lesbians and other sapphics are cat people, right? Well, some of them. Some are definitely dog people. This post is for all the dog people among us. It includes no less than three books titled, ‘Puppy Love,’ and one entire series by the same title – thank you Georgia Beers!
Enjoy some time with this crazy group of cool canines and their people! There’s romance – of course – but also mystery and paranormal mystery.
There’s no dog on the cover of Bel Blackwood’s A Dog Named Bella, but trust me to say there are plenty of dogs in the story. You get, “One ice queen who likes solitude. One firebrand crashing into her life. One snowstorm trapping them together,” per the author, plus there are the dogs. Lot’s there to love!
Radclyffe has a book on pre-order right now through Bold Strokes Books, Finders Keepers, that has a whole lot of doggie goodness promise. It comes out June 13th.
Indie author Susie Ray has a brand new release featuring two novellas which is available right now. The first book is, Molly the Collie. You have to love the expression on that dog on the cover!
Georgia Beers is a well known dog lover. Any Zoom video conferences and readings you watched during the covid pandemic that featured her, often featured her newest pup (at the time) as well. It’s no surprise she’s written a Puppy Love Series of three books featuring dogs.
The first of our three ‘Puppy Love‘ titles is the one by Sage Donnell because I’m taking them alphabetically by last name. Boisterous little Chloe helps get Greta and Livy together in this sweet, slow burn, friends to lovers romance.
The second ‘Puppy Love‘ titled book comes from indie author Cara Malone as the only dog book in her Fur-Ever Veterinary Romance Series. The book features a Shiba Inu – one of the few dogs I have no experience with – as a very sick pup of Blair’s for vet, Marley to tend to. Bet you can guess what happens between Blair and Marley…
Allow me to digress for a minute: I had a hard time with this book. Great story; don’t get me wrong. The name ‘Marley’ conjures up for me that awful movie, ‘Marley and Me ‘ where the dog dies at the end. Did I forget to say spoiler alert? Sorry, not sorry. My supposedly dog loving wife drug me to that. I’ve never forgiven her. Now I check every movie she wants me to watch before I agree.
Finally, the third ‘Puppy Love‘ sapphic novel comes to us from Ylva author, L. T. Smith. In this story, border terrier ‘Charlie’ works on getting Ellie and Emily to build a relationship. It’s difficult for Ellie, but the pup is up to the task!
Now then, if there are this many sapphic books titled, ‘Puppy Love,’ one has to wonder how many mainstream ones there are. Someone count them and get back to me, please! Just romance books is fine.
I went digging in the way back files for Adan Rami’s 2016 book, ‘Rescued,’ which is all the title implies packed into a novella sized story. Stanley the Yorkie needs a lot of love in this story. Don’t worry, he gets it, but if mention of the movie, ‘Marley and Me,’ had you tearing up, I’d understand you skipping this one. I promise it has a much happier ending!
Bold Strokes Books author E.J. Cochran does voices…at least for her human characters! I heard the author of the Maddie Smithwick mystery series read for the first time at the GCLS conference in Pittsburgh in 2019. She’s amazing. The stories are great too, especially the first one, Sleeping Dogs Lie, which features Maddie’s rescue mutt, ‘Bart.’
Geonn Cannon’s ‘Underdogs Series‘ starts with the book fittingly titled, ‘Underdogs.’ That said, this is a wolf shifter action/adventure/mystery/paranormal series, not a dog series, per se. It follows the adventures of Ariadne (Ari) Willow, a canidae, a person who can shapeshift into a wolf. The series currently stands at ten books.
We’ll round out this part of the list with Erik Shubach’s, ‘Unleashed: Case of the Hot Dog.’ No good dead goes unpunished for Finnegan (Fin) May in this story that starts with a Dachshund rescue of sorts.
Is that enough dog books for you? No? How about one more? My Morelville Mysteries series and the spin-off cozy mystery series (not strictly sapphic for the cozy) feature some dogs. Most prominent is the full on dog napping story in the Morelville Mysteries book 6, ‘A Crane Christmas.’ Don’t worry! All the dogs get a happy ending here too!
And here’s our little guy, Biscuit. He’s a 2 1/2 year old Jack Russell/Yorkie mix we’ve had since December. He was a bit much for my mother-in-law to handle, especially with her older mixed breed dog, but he’s just hyper enough for our crazy household!
Happy reading! Go love on your pooches!
In 2009, author Malindo Lo rocked the world of YA literature with her Cinderella retelling novel, Ash, published by mainstream publisher – after a bidding war – Little Brown. A hit with YA readers, the story introduced them to a lesbian main character where the romance, rather than the sexuality, was more important to the story.
Malinda would follow Ash with Huntress, a prequel to Ash, and take popular YA books with sapphic protagonists to the masses.
I had the pleasure of hearing Malinda give the Keynote address at the 2019 GCLS Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Ten years after Ash, sapphic YA had exploded and an enthusiastic audience of young and not so young readers hung on her every word.
Now, there’s lots of sapphic YA out there to choose from, and so much of it is so good! Let’s dive in to some of our reader’s favorites besides Ash, Huntress, and Malinda’s more recent YA novel, profiled here on the blog last week with AAPI authors, Last Night at the Telegraph Club.
Readers on Tumblr can’t get enough of this graphic novel by Australian author and illustrator Sarah Winifred Searle, The Greatest Thing. The comic/graphic novel, featuring ‘Winifred’ as she enters her sophomore year of high school and makes some new friends is a 2023 Lambda Literary Award (Lammy) finalist.
Ylva Publishing author Karen Frost’s , four book YA high fantasy series, Destiny and Darkness keeps finding new readers enthralled by Aeryn who can create fire, and Lsye, the healer whose love Aeryn cannot have. The series starts with the book, Daughter of Fire: Conspiracy of the Dark.
A book that came up with our readers and multiple times in online forums was, The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigidar. Follow the adventures of Nishat and Flavia as they compete against each other in a school competition and fall in love along the way.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson is a ‘Teacher’s Pick’ and a ‘Time Magazine Best YA Book of all Time.” In the story, we follow Liz as she schemes to become the prom queen and get the scholarship she needs to go to the college of her dreams and get out of her small Indiana hometown. The only thing standing in her way is Mack; the girl she’s falling for who is also running for prom queen.
Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake is a Multi-Award Winning novel full of drama and romance when a tornado erases a home and creates a private dilemma for one of it’s former inhabitants, twelve year old, Ivy.
The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes is a 2023 Lambda Literary Award (Lammy) Finalists in the YA category and a finalist for three additional literary awards. It is a Walter Honor Award Winner and a Pura Belpré Honor Book. It’s the “…Sharply funny and moving debut novel about a queer Mexican American girl navigating Catholic school, while falling in love and learning to celebrate her true self. ”
Our readers call this next YA novel just plain fun. It’s a modern reimagining of Anne of Green Gables by Mariko Tamaki, Anne of Greenville. YA readers that remember the disco era will get a kick out of this story. Oh, and it’s Disney published; one of the many reasons Disney gets targeted for boycotts for support of the LGBTQ community and it’s art.
“Do not be silent. Raise your voice. Be a light in the dark.”
It’s from Cinderella is Dead by Kaylynn Bayron. It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
No list of sapphic YA books would be complete without talking about author Kelly Quindlen and her string of best selling books. She started as an indie with her book, Her Name in the Sky. Her most current best seller is the book, She Drives Me Crazy, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Macmillan.
“High school nemeses fall in love in Kelly Quindlen’s She Drives Me Crazy, a queer YA romcom…”
Finally, a little YA horror to leave you with, if the Cinderella as Handmaids Tale story wasn’t enough to put some fear in you. How about The Girls are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh?
“The Conjuring meets Sadie in this queer ghost story, when seventeen-year-old podcaster Dare finds herself in a life-or-death struggle against an evil spirit.”
That’s a lot of great YA! And yet, there’s so much more. You’ve got your work cut out for you.
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month celebrating the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
Here at MyQueerSapphFic, we want to celebrate diversity and achievement the way we always do; with books! Anne had a great time selecting these. Some she’s read and loved. Others, she’s added to her to be read pile and they will be read…as soon as she’s done researching pesky backstory for a work in progress.
Anne apologizes in advance if the authors of any of her picks have returned to their roots. Some of these authors are lifelong Americans, born here to parents from other countries. Some immigrated to the US. Without further ado, a few gems from a diverse group of AAPI sapphic authors:
Best friends since second grade, Fiona Lin and Jane Shen explore the lonely freeways and seedy bars of Los Angeles together through their teenage years, surviving unfulfilling romantic encounters, and carrying with them the scars of their families’ tumultuous pasts. Fiona was always destined to leave, her effortless beauty burnished by fierce ambition—qualities that Jane admired and feared in equal measure. When Fiona moves to New York and cares for a sick friend through a breakup with an opportunistic boyfriend, Jane remains in California and grieves her estranged father’s sudden death, in the process alienating an overzealous girlfriend. Strained by distance and unintended betrayals, the women float in and out of each other’s lives, their friendship both a beacon of home and a reminder of all they’ve lost.
In stories told in alternating voices, Jean Chen Ho’s debut collection peels back the layers of female friendship—the intensity, resentment, and boundless love—to probe the beating hearts of young women coming to terms with themselves, and each other, in light of the insecurities and shame that holds them back.
Spanning countries and selves, Fiona and Jane is an intimate portrait of a friendship, a deep dive into the universal perplexities of being young and alive, and a bracingly honest account of two Asian women who dare to stake a claim on joy in a changing, contemporary America.
Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her.
She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else.
When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho.
But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself.
A New York Times Bestseller
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the feeling took root—that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible.
But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls: A Memoir by T. Kira Madden (AAPI Author) – Bloomsbury Publishing
Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden’s raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where she found cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hiding in plain sight.
As a child, Madden lived a life of extravagance, from her exclusive private school to her equestrian trophies and designer shoe-brand name. But under the surface was a wild instability. The only child of parents continually battling drug and alcohol addictions, Madden confronted her environment alone. Facing a culture of assault and objectification, she found lifelines in the desperately loving friendships of fatherless girls.
With unflinching honesty and lyrical prose, spanning from 1960s Hawai’i to the present-day struggle of a young woman mourning the loss of a father while unearthing truths that reframe her reality, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is equal parts eulogy and love letter. It’s a story about trauma and forgiveness, about families of blood and affinity, both lost and found, unmade and rebuilt, crooked and beautiful.
Finalist for the 2023 Lesbian Memoir/Biography Lambda Literary Award
When Putsata Reang was eleven months old, her family fled war-torn Cambodia, spending twenty-three days on an overcrowded navy vessel before finding sanctuary at an American naval base in the Philippines. Holding what appeared to be a lifeless baby in her arms, Ma resisted the captain’s orders to throw her bundle overboard. Instead, on landing, Ma rushed her baby into the arms of American military nurses and doctors, who saved the child’s life. “I had hope, just a little, you were still alive,” Ma would tell Put in an oft-repeated story that became family legend.
Over the years, Put lived to please Ma and make her proud, hustling to repay her life debt by becoming the consummate good Cambodian daughter, working steadfastly by Ma’s side in the berry fields each summer and eventually building a successful career as an award-winning journalist. But Put’s adoration and efforts are no match for Ma’s expectations. When she comes out to Ma in her twenties, it’s just a phase. When she fails to bring home a Khmer boyfriend, it’s because she’s not trying hard enough. When, at the age of forty, Put tells Ma she is finally getting married―to a woman―it breaks their bond in two.
In her startling memoir, Reang explores the long legacy of inherited trauma and the crushing weight of cultural and filial duty. With rare clarity and lyric wisdom, Ma and Me is a stunning, deeply moving memoir about love, debt, and duty.
Lucky and her husband, Krishna, are gay. They present an illusion of marital bliss to their conservative Sri Lankan–American families, while each dates on the side. It’s not ideal, but for Lucky, it seems to be working. She goes out dancing, she drinks a bit, she makes ends meet by doing digital art on commission. But when Lucky’s grandmother has a nasty fall, Lucky returns to her childhood home and unexpectedly reconnects with her former best friend and first lover, Nisha, who is preparing for her own arranged wedding with a man she’s never met.
As the connection between the two women is rekindled, Lucky tries to save Nisha from entering a marriage based on a lie. But does Nisha really want to be saved? And after a decade’s worth of lying, can Lucky break free of her own circumstances and build a new life? Is she willing to walk away from all that she values about her parents and community to live in a new truth? As Lucky—an outsider no matter what choices she makes—is pushed to the breaking point, Marriage of a Thousand Lies offers a vivid exploration of a life lived at a complex intersection of race, sexuality, and nationality. The result is a profoundly American debut novel shot through with humor and loss, a story of love, family, and the truths that define us all.
A Book Riot Must-Read Poetry Collection
Soft Science explores queer, Asian American femininity. A series of Turing Test-inspired poems grounds its exploration of questions not just of identity, but of consciousness—how to be tender and feeling and still survive a violent world filled with artificial intelligence and automation. We are dropped straight into the tangled intersections of technology, violence, erasure, agency, gender, and loneliness.
“…these beautiful, fractal-like poems are meditations on identity and autonomy and offer consciousness-expanding forays into topics like violence and gender, love and isolation.” –NYLON
This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura (Japanese American) – Published by Harper Teen
Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.
She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.
Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.
When Tara Met Farah by Tara Pammi (Indian American) – Indie Author
Horny food vlogger meets grumpy math genius in this emotional, sexy, new-adultish contemporary romance and have to decide if love is worth all the vulnerabilities it demands.
Sunshine Girl needs math lessons…
Nineteen-year-old Tara Muvvala didn’t mean to lead a double life. But her bone-deep aversion to math + a soul-deep desire to please her mother = her failing math grade + exploding food vlog ‘this masala life’. Enter her mother’s research intern and resident math genius Farah Ahmed. Tara makes a deal with Farah – help her pass the math course and she’ll welcome Farah into the local Bollywood Drama & Dance Society.
Grumpy girl gets life lessons…
After losing her mom to a heart attack, dumping her small-minded boyfriend (she’s bisexual, not confused) and reluctantly moving to the US to be near her dad – all in the span of eighteen months, twenty-three-year-old Farah has hit the full quota on LIFE. Two things keep her going – her internship with a brilliant statistics professor and the possibility of meeting her dancing idol through the Bollywood Drama & Dance Society. That is, if her new hot-mess housemate will let her.
Soon Tara and Farah are bonding over chicken biryani, dancing to Bollywood Beats at midnight and kissing against all the odds. And maybe beginning to realize that while life’s even more complicated than math, love is the one variable that changes everything!
Will Tara and Farah realize that together they have the recipe for a Happily Ever After?
Can you believe 1/3rd of 2023 is already gone?
We can’t either!
We revamped this website in August of 2022 to better showcase the books we all love so much. The new design gives readers a way to look at everything we’ve featured week to week and the ability to sort those books by category and author. On the front end, a reader can also sort by overall popularity on the site. On the backend where only Erin and I can see, we can look at things month by month and see what’s been popular.
- Here then are the top 10 sapphic themed eBooks on this site for 2023…so far. They’re a bit of a mix, surprisingly, as romance novels dominate the overall listings. For fun, we’ve included a bonus top 5 all-time (since August of 2022) list too.
10. The Sapphic Lammy Award Finalists – 50 eBooks in multiple fiction and non-fiction categories we culled from the Lambda Literary Award Finalists announced in March. Winners will be announced in June. (So, we’re one listing in and you’ve already got 50 books to browse. Sorry. Not sorry!)
9. Stabscotch The 3rd book in the San Francisco Mystery Series by Alexi Venice. This story introduces the enigma that is Roxy MacNeil.
8. Unlikely Match – A contemporary, opposites attract, age gap romance by Alexa Wood.
6. Tie! A Game of Hearts and Heists – A steamy lesbian fantasy romance by Ruby Roe with enemies to lovers, a heist, found family, a secret royal, and only one bed.
6. Tie! Mistress of Desire – Erotica/Erotic romance by Ruby Scott
Okay, is anyone noticing anything here? A pattern, maybe? Authors named Alex(something) and Ruby…hmmm.
5. The Love we Make – Is anyone shocked that a contemporary romance by Harper Bliss made this list? Anyone…? This one is full of ‘found family.’
4. Stolen Match – See…we told you there’s a pattern! Another contemporary romance by Alexa Woods. This one actually came later in the series and to our site. Readers like this series.
3. Dote on them – The second contemporary romance in the ‘Herding Love’ series by Emily Alter. Polyamory? Not quite, but ‘found family’ definitely. And there’s another pattern!
We’re going to have to figure out a way to include tropes in the romance categories besides making you have to type in keywords.
2. Claiming Fawn – An omegaverse dragon shifter fantasy romance by Winter Thorn.
1. Queen Vs. Queen – Disclaimer, I (Anne) am one of the authors. This is an anthology of three contemporary romance novellas where ice queen meets ice queen. Ice queens are extremely popular with sapphic romance readers!
Intrigued by any of those? We were, especially since there’s some variety there. We decided to dig a little deeper and find the top 5 of all time (since we started tracking in August of 2022). They are:
5. Everything she Needs – A contemporary age gap, ice queen romance from Cynthia Dane and Hildred Billings.
4. Avery Awakened – A contemporary age gap, straight to gay, romance by Chloe Peterson
3. Calling the Shots – A sports romance (hockey) by Kelly Farmer
2. Meet Cute – A collection of romance first meeting scenes put together by the amazing Jae from many authors. It’s free!
1. If I were a Weapon – If you’ve read Skye Kilaen’s work, this sci-fi novel with romance making the top of the list won’t surprise you. If you haven’t read this, why not? (Psst: I don’t usually read sci-fi, but I loved this! ~ Anne)
There you have it. Interestingly, there are some books that are really close to those five on the all time list. The top 20 average three views difference from book to book. Were going to have another look at it all in early September to see what’s what.
In March, we created a lengthy post here containing an overview of all the sapphic books that were finalists for a Lambda Literary Award (Lammy). There were 50 books we were able to glean that were primarily sapphic in nature.
The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) was formed more than twenty years ago as a membership organization to revel in, promote, and reward what was then known as lesbian fiction. In a couple of changes over recent years the organization has progressed through usage of the term ‘women loving women literature’ to the more current and more inclusive ‘sapphic literature.’ It is also an open organization now. Membership and dues are no longer required.
The Goldie’s are awarded in July of each year to winning finalists from books published between January 1st and December 31st of the year prior. There are 18 categories for 2023 Goldie awards including the annual Tee Corinne cover design award, and a new category for audiobook narrators.
Typically, well over 300 books are submitted to the GCLS judging panel for Goldie consideration. Some years, there have been 600 or more books. This year there are 120 finalists in various categories with some duplicates (debut novel and also in the book’s genre, for example). Unlike the Lammy award finalists which are a mix of academic press, large press, and small press works, plus some indie books, Goldie award finalists tend to come from small sapphic presses, small LGBTQ presses, and indie authors.
One Goldie category stands out for readers of sapphic literature: The Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award category. Books can be submitted in all categories by readers, authors, and publishers. Most categories except for the Ann Bannon Award and the Tee Corrine Cover Design Award are vetted by a panel of judges who read each entry and score it in the software of a tabulating firm. The firm releases the finalists based on ratio of one finalist for every so many entries. The other two categories are voted on in a couple of rounds by GCLS members (formerly)/readers.
There are 18 Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award Finalists for 2023. A few have previously been profiled on this site. The finalists are:
|Beyond Any Experience||Ann E. Terpstra||NineStar Press|
|Broken Beyond Repair||Emily Banting||Sapphfic Publishing|
||Rachel Spangler||Brisk Press|
|Dead Letters from Paradise||Ann McMan||Bywater Books|
|Delafield||Katherine V. Forrest||Spinsters Ink|
|Endurance||Elaine Burnes||Mindancer Press/Bedazzled Ink|
|Falling For Who
||Susan X. Meagher||Brisk Press|
|If I Don’t Ask
||E. J. Noyes||Bella Books|
|Just a Touch Away
|Observations on the Danger of Female Curiosity||Suzanne Moss||Aesculus Books|
|The Barrens||Kurt Johnson & Ellie Johnson||Arcade – Skyhorse|
|The Forever and The Now||KJ||Self-published|
|The Last Lavender Sister||Melissa Brayden||Bold Strokes Books|
|The New Shore||Caren J. Werlinger||Corgyn Publishing|
|The Santorini Setup||Becky Bohan||Nanbec Books|
April is National Poetry Month in the United States. What better way to celebrate it than with sapphic poetry?
The word ‘sapphic’ comes from the name, Sappho. Sappho was an ancient Greek poet who lived on the island of Lesbos in the 7th century BC. She is considered one of the greatest lyric poets of all time, and her work has been translated into many languages. Sappho’s poetry is characterized by its beauty, passion, and emotional intensity. She wrote about a wide range of subjects, including love, loss, nature, and music.
Sappho’s poetry is also known for its homoerotic themes. She wrote many poems about her love for other women, and her work has been celebrated by lesbian and bisexual women for centuries.
Sappho’s poetry was widely read and admired in ancient Greece, but it fell out of favor in the Middle Ages. Her work was rediscovered in the 16th century, and it has been the subject of much scholarly debate ever since. Sappho’s poetry is still relevant today, and it continues to inspire and move readers around the world.
A sample of Sappho’s poetry (translated, of course):
“Come, my friends, let us leave the meadow
And go up to the temple of Artemis.
There we will dance and sing
In honor of the goddess of the moon.
Let us crown our heads with garlands
And weave ivy around our arms.
Let us sing of love and beauty
And the joys of springtime.”
Sappho’s poetry is a beautiful and moving testament to the power of love. Her work continues to inspire and resonate with readers centuries after she wrote it.
This translation of her poems and fragments was published in February of this year.
Some other popular Sapphic Poets are:
- Adrienne Rich (1929-2012): An American poet, essayist, and feminist. Rich’s poetry often explores themes of love, loss, and the female experience. She is considered one of the most important poets of the 20th century. Her work spanned decades as evidenced by the collection of poems from 1950 to 2012.
- Audre Lorde (1934-1992): A Caribbean-American poet, essayist, and activist. Lorde’s work often explores themes of race, gender, and sexuality. She is considered one of the most important writers of the Black feminist movement. The Collected Poems volume of Audre’s poetic work includes more than 300 poems. Her essays in her work, Sister Outsider are also must reads.
- Sharon Olds (born 1942): An American poet known for her frank and often erotic poems about love, sex, and the body. Olds has won numerous awards for her work, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has several collections of her poetry. The ‘current’ most popular volume is the collection of long-flowing poems and songs, Balladz.
- Tracy K. Smith (born 1972): An American poet and former Poet Laureate of the United States (2017-2019), who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2011 for her collection, Life on Mars (Out first in paperback. The eBook came several years later). Smith’s work often explores themes of race, identity, and memory.
- Jericho Brown (born 1976): An American poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2020 for her 2019 collection, The Tradition. Brown’s work often explores themes of love, loss, and masculinity.
Some of my personal sapphic favorites include Audre Lorde’s work and Ocean Vuong’s (A queer male poet). There are a few more whose work I enjoy, including another ‘Ocean.’
- Ocean (Cocco): If you’re on social media, you’ve seen snippets of her poetry. She’s a contradiction, this woman, writing horror one moment and poetic testaments to life, love, and loss the next. I’m not sorry to say I pushed her to put her one published collection, Love you Like a Woman, together! Her work is the reason I started to read poetry again – and sapphic poetry in particular – after many years away. Get the book and/or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.
- L’Monique King: Her one, widely available collection, From Collards to Callaloo: Poems & Letters to Assata is not to be missed if you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone you love that has kept you from seeing others you love.
- Arhm Choi Wild (Amazon paperback edition), now known as Noah Arhm Choi (they/them) (hardcover editions): The author of Cut to Bloom, winner of the 2019 Write Bloody Prize from Write Bloody Publishing. They received the 2022 Ellen Conroy Kennedy Poetry Prize. Please note: We don’t take dead-naming lightly. We’re simply trying to portray the poet’s work accurately as far as how it is available.
Do you have a favorite sapphic poet I missed? I’d love to hear more! Feel free to comment.
P.S. – Bonus List! These are the works published in 2022 that are finalists for the 2023 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry:
- Shelley Wong: As She Appears
- Natalie Wee: Beast at Every Threshold
- Courtney Faye Taylor: Concentrate
- Brynne Rebele-Henry: Prelude
- Rage Hezekiah: Yearn
You can get more information and retailer links in our special Lammy Finalist post, here.
Sports fans in the United States revel all month long every March as high school and college basketball regular seasons come to a close and playoffs and tournaments begin. ‘March Madness’ afflicts millions of fans of college basketball every year.
A men’s March Madness National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament has existed since 1939. Women’s college teams had a tournament sponsored by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) from 1972 through 1982. There was a smaller association that ran a tournament for women for a only a few years prior to the AIAW. In 1982 the NCAA sponsored a women’s tournament in competition with the AIAW tourney, and took full control of women’s college athletics beginning in 1983.
The women’s tournament for years, did not use the name ‘March Madness’ or the March Madness branding the men’s tournament has always used. Then, in 2021, the NCAA conducted a gender equality review. They found themselves lacking.
After years of women’s college players going into the professional WNBA to play out of college beginning in 1996, and successive years of growth in interest in women’s college basketball fans were following the women too. The NCAA wasn’t keeping pace with their interests. In 2022, the women’s tournament was also branded ‘March Madness,’ officially giving it the name and branding fans, players, and coaches were already feeling.
My wife (this is Anne) is a huge college basketball fan, right down to always rooting for specific teams and rooting against others, no matter how good they are, because she doesn’t care for the head coach. Yeah, it’s petty. It’s also fun to watch her squirm when those teams do well.
We both root for underdogs. Gotta love the underdogs, or in NCAA parlance, the Cinderalla teams! We keep rooting for them until they pose a threat to our favorite teams. Right now, one of our very favorites is in the tournament’s final four, The University of Iowa Hawkeyes with their superstar player, Caitlin Clark. We’ll be watching Friday night as the Hawkeyes take on the defending champion South Carolina team for the rights to play for it all on Sunday night, April 2nd.
Sapphic fiction authors have been giving us great basketball stories for years. Here are some of my romance and basketball favorites, plus the biography of Brittney Griner – one of the most famous collegiate players to go on to the WNBA. It was published in 2014, years before her incarceration in Russia and subsequent release from a gulag style prison.
Simply Connected by Alex Washoe
The first book in a popular multi-sport sapphic series.
Once a celebrated child prodigy, Blaise Noether is now a struggling widowed mom trying to keep her head above water while she pursues her Ph.D. Only two things make her really angry: her kid’s math textbooks and jocks. In her mind, all athletes are like the bullies who terrorized her in high school. So when she crosses paths with rising basketball star Christie Dillard, Blaise’s interest is a null set.
Christie is everything Blaise fears, fiercely competitive, brashly confident, and totally devoted to her game. That she is also endearingly awkward and irresistibly gorgeous is irrelevant data. But when Blaise glimpses a paradigm-shifting epiphany in the geometry of Christie’s jump shot, she begins to suspect this jock might be the missing variable that could balance the equation of her life.
Love on the Basketball Court: Rivals by Scarlet Rose
The first of two books in a series. New adult themed.
It’s always been my dream to play college basketball, but the thought of competing against the girl from my rival high school for a spot on the team feels almost hopeless.
Her name is Sarah Wood and she’s been a thorn in my side ever since middle school. Her school has beaten my school every time we’ve played. Now we’re not only going to try out for the same team, but we’re also going to be roommates? Could life get any worse?
However, just when things couldn’t get any more complicated, I find myself developing feelings for her. Am I gay? If my family found out, what would they think?
To make matters worse, our basketball coach has made it clear that someone is getting cut before the season starts and I’m just a walk-on. What if I’m the one who gets cut?
Am I able to put up with Sarah? Am I developing feelings for her? Will I be able to make the team? Find out by reading the book.
WARNING! This book may not be suitable for everyone and deals with some serious issues that may be hard for many people to read about including but not limited to sexual assault and homophobia. All of these issues are serious and are presented in a manner that is respectful that does not glorify or promote.
Coach Z by q. Kelly
The first book in a three book series.
Caution: This book does not exactly end in a happily ever after. It’s a true series.
Melissa MacKenzie, a basketball star in high school, never wanted to play college ball. The daughter of a legendary women’s coach, she has played since she was in diapers. Basketball was always a chore for Melissa, and she never developed the passion and skills necessary to garner much Division I attention. She hoped that by attending college across the country, she could get a break from basketball and carve out her own place in the world.
Parental interference conspired, and Melissa ended up playing for the Richmond College Ravens, riding the bench for four years.
As Melissa’s last NCAA tournament approaches, she wonders if she wasted the past few years by not giving her all. However, a series of unfortunate events means that Melissa has no more time to dwell on these woes—because she’s being pressed into service. Now she’s a starter, and all eyes are on her and the Ravens’ head coach, Andi Zappa.
Andi is fighting her own demons, and Richmond College is letting her go after the season ends. The two women work together to ensure that the Ravens don’t embarrass themselves too much on the national stage, and they find themselves playing with matters of the heart as well as matters of basketball as the national championship looms.
Will these human frailties doom them or make them stronger?
In My Skin: My Life on and off the Basketball Court by Brittney Griner with Sue Hovey
Hailed by ESPN as the world’s most famous female basketball player, Brittney Griner, the dunking phenom and national sensation who is shattering stereotypes and breaking boundaries, now shares her coming-of-age story, revealing how she found her strength to overcome bullies and to embrace her authentic self.
Brittney Griner, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, is a once-in-a-generation player, possessing a combination of size and athleticism never before seen in the women’s game. But “the sport’s most transformative figure” (Sports Illustrated) is equally famous for making headlines off the court, for speaking out on issues of gender, sexuality, body image and self-esteem.
At 6’8”, with an 88-inch wingspan and a size 17 shoe (men’s), the Phoenix Mercury star has heard every vicious insult in the book, enduring years of taunting that began in middle school and continues to this day. Through the highs and lows, Griner has learned to remain true to herself, rising above the haters trying to take her down.
In her heartfelt memoir, she reflects on painful episodes in her life and describes how she came to celebrate what makes her unique—inspiring lessons she now shares. Filled with all the humor and personality Griner has become known for, In My Skin is more than a glimpse into one of the most original personalities in sports; it’s also a powerful call to readers to be true to themselves, to love who they are on the inside and out.